Genesis 18:4
Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
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(4) Wash your feet.—This is the first necessity of Oriental hospitality (Judges 19:21), not merely because the feet, protected only by sandals, are soiled by the dirt of the roads, but because it cools the whole body, and allays the feverishness caused by the heat of travelling. Thus refreshed they are “to rest,” Heb., to lay themselves down, in the shade.

18:1-8 Abraham was waiting to entertain any weary traveller, for inns were not to be met with as among us. While Abraham was thus sitting, he saw three men coming. These were three heavenly beings in human bodies. Some think they were all created angels; others, that one of them was the Son of God, the Angel of the covenant. Washing the feet is customary in those hot climates, where only sandals are worn. We should not be forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares, Heb 13:2; nay, the Lord of angels himself; as we always do, when for his sake we entertain the least of his brethren. Cheerful and obliging manners in showing kindness, are great ornaments to piety. Though our condescending Lord vouchsafes not personal visits to us, yet still by his Spirit he stands at the door and knocks; when we are inclined to open, he deigns to enter; and by his gracious consolations he provides a rich feast, of which we partake with him, Re 3:20.O Lord. - Abraham uses the word אדני 'adonāy denoting one having authority, whether divine or not. This the Masorites mark as sacred, and apply the vowel points proper to the word when it signifies God. These men in some way represent God; for "the Lord" on this occasion appeared unto Abraham Genesis 18:1. The number is in this respect notable. Abraham addresses himself first to one person Genesis 18:3, then to more than one Genesis 18:4-5. It is stated that "'they' said, So do Genesis 18:5, 'they' did eat Genesis 18:8, ' they' said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife" Genesis 18:9. Then the singular number is resumed in the phrase "'and he said'" Genesis 18:10, and at length, "The Lord said unto Abraham" Genesis 18:13, and then, "and he said" Genesis 18:15. Then we are told "'the men' rose up, and Abraham went with them" Genesis 18:16. Then we have "The Lord said" twice Genesis 18:17, Genesis 18:20. And lastly, it is said Genesis 18:22 "'the men' turned their faces and went toward Sodom, and Abraham was yet standing before the Lord." From this it appears that of the three men one, at all events, was the Lord, who, when the other two went toward Sodom, remained with Abraham while he made his intercession for Sodom, and afterward he also went his way. The other two will come before us again in the next chapter. Meanwhile, we have here the first explicit instance of the Lord appearing as man to man, and holding familiar conversation with him.

The narrative affords a pleasing instance of the primitive manners of the East. The hospitality of the pastoral tribes was spontaneous and unreserved. The washing of the feet, which were partly at least uncovered in walking, the reclining under the tree, and the offer of refreshment, are indicative of an unchanging rural simplicity. The phrases "a little water, a morsel of bread," flow from a thoughtful courtesy. "Therefore are ye come." In the course of events it has so fallen out, in order that you might be refreshed. The brief reply is a frank and unaffected acceptance of the hospitable invitation.

3. My Lord, if now I have found favor—The hospitalities offered are just of the kind that are necessary and most grateful, the refreshment of water, for feet exposed to dust and heat by the sandals, being still the first observed among the pastoral people of Hebron. A practice usual in those parts, Genesis 19:2 24:32 43:24 John 13:4,5 1 Timothy 5:10, because they used to travel either bare-footed, or only with sandals to cover and secure the bottom of their feet.

Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet,.... Which was very refreshing to travellers in hot countries, who walked barefoot or in sandals; and this he proposes to be done by one of his servants, whose business it was, only desires they would give him leave to order it, 1 Samuel 25:41; and so it was usual in other countries, and in later times, for servants to fetch water to wash the hands and feet of guests (l):

and rest yourselves under the tree; before the tent door, under which doubtless were seats to sit down upon, where they might rest their weary limbs; it is very probable this was an oak tree, and which, and a turpentine tree the ancient writers speak of, continued unto the times of Constantine; see Gill on Genesis 13:18; and the Jewish writers say (m), that now near the city (Hebron), between the vineyards, are the oaks of Mamre, where is the house of Abraham our father, on whom be peace, and the tree under which the angels ate, and the stone on which he (Abraham) sat when he was circumcised.

(l) "----- dant manibus famuli lymphas." --Virgil. Aeneid. l. 1.((m) Cippi Hebr. p. 9. Ed. Hottinger.

Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and {c} wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

(c) For men used to go bare footed in those parts because of the heat.

4. wash your feet] Abraham’s offer of hospitable welcome is said to be a faithful representation of the reception of a traveller by an Eastern sheikh. Here we have its various aspects of (1) the courteous greeting; (2) the feet washing; (3) the repast and personal attendance by the host; (4) the escort on the road at departure.

The washing of the feet is necessary for comfort as well as cleanliness in the East where sandals are worn. Cf. Genesis 19:2, Genesis 24:32, Genesis 43:24; Luke 7:44; John 13:14.

rest yourselves under the tree] Abraham invites them to recline in the shade, while the meal is made ready. It does not necessarily indicate the posture at the meal. Judging from 1 Samuel 9:22; 1 Samuel 20:5, 1 Kings 13:20, a sitting posture was usual among the Israelites. Probably we should understand that, in this scene, as in Genesis 27:19, Jdg 19:6, those who ate were seated on the ground, the food being placed in front of them.

Verse 4. - Let a little water, I pray yon, be fetched, and wash your feet. Feet washing was a necessary part of Oriental hospitality (cf. Genesis 19:2; Genesis 24:32; Genesis 43:24). "Among the ancient Egyptians the basins kept in the houses of the rich for this purpose were sometimes of gold" (Freeman, Bible Manners, 'Homiletic Quarterly,' vol. 1. p. 78). "In India it is considered a necessary part of hospitality to wash the feet and ankles of the weary traveler, and even in Palestine this interesting custom is not extinct. Dr. Robinson and party on arriving at Ramleh repaired to the abode of a wealthy Arab, where the ceremony was performed in the genuine style of ancient Oriental hospitality (vide Kitto's 'Bible Illustrations,' vol. 1. p. 230). And rest yourselves (literally, recline by resting on the elbow) under the tree. Genesis 18:4When sitting, about mid-day, in the grove of Mamre, in front of his tent, Abraham looked up and unexpectedly saw three men standing at some distance from him (עליו above him, looking down upon him as he sat), viz., Jehovah (Genesis 18:13) and two angels (Genesis 19:1); all three in human form. Perceiving at once that one of them was the Lord (אדני, i.e., God), he prostrated himself reverentially before them, and entreated them not to pass him by, but to suffer him to entertain them as his guests: "Let a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and recline yourselves (השּׁען( sevle to recline, leaning upon the arm) under the tree." - "Comfort your hearts:" lit., "strengthen the heart," i.e., refresh yourselves by eating and drinking (Judges 19:5; 1 Kings 21:7). "For therefore (sc., to give me an opportunity to entertain you hospitably) have ye come over to your servant:" כּן על כּי does not stand for כּי כּן על (Ges. thes. p. 682), but means "because for this purpose" (vid., Ewald, 353).
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